(13) Rhode Island || (14) Vermont || (15) Kentucky || (16) Tennessee || (17) Ohio || (18) Louisiana || (19) Indiana || (20) Mississippi || (21) Illinois || (22) Alabama || (23) Maine || (24) Missouri || (25) Arkansas || (26) Michigan ||
intended as a supplement to u.s. history 101.2, a textbook
Maine (1820, #23)
ACHILLES HEEL: Nova Scotia
HOMETOWN HERO: Oliver Otis Howard, because he offered his services with integrity and a devotion to higher powers, both on the battlefield where loss of a limb didn’t prevent his continued sacrifice, and as an administrator for the Freedman’s Bureau, a position in which so many others exploited circumstance for personal benefit.
Maryland (1788, #7)
ACHILLES HEEL: the Mason-Dixon line
HOMETOWN HERO: Josiah Henson, because he refused enslavement as his life’s calling, escaped and brought meaning to the true labor and total sacrifice of ministerial work and founded a black settlement on free land; and because he bore little resemblance to today’s stereotyped “Uncle Tom,” the character he inspired.
Massachusetts (1788, #6)
ACHILLES HEEL: the ivory tower
HOMETOWN HERO: Deborah Sampson, because she was determined to enlist in the army during the Revolutionary War, whatever the cost to her physical well-being or requirements to hiding of her true identity; and because upon injury in battle, she wouldn’t shy away from demanding her just entitlement to veteran benefits.
Michigan (1837, #26)
ACHILLES HEEL: lakes
HOMETOWN HERO: Magdelaine Laframboise, because upon sudden widowhood she proved herself eminently capable of earning a living as a fur trader, and used her substantial accumulated wealth to aid indigenous children, herself having been at least one-eighth native (even if this heritage had been largely overlooked during most of her life).
Minnesota (1858, #32)
ACHILLES HEEL: Rupert’s Land
HOMETOWN HERO: William W. Mayo, because he didn’t allow a diminutive stature to obscure his great gifts of healing, both in a military setting and during private practice; and because even deep into retirement, he couldn’t resist toying with experimental treatments (including one that apparently involved the reuse of animal feces, which ultimately led to his demise).
Mississippi (1817, #20)
ACHILLES HEEL: Faulkner's storyline
HOMETOWN HERO: Varina Davis, because of her intense, privately expressed ambivalence over every aspect of the war, including her own husband’s fitness as leader of a confederacy, while doing her level best to keep up appearances, all the while reviled and exposed by political adversaries as being “mulatto,” or perhaps “Indian” in appearance.
Missouri (1821, #24)
ACHILLES HEEL: The Compromise
HOMETOWN HERO: Harriet Robinson Scott, the lesser known of two relevant litigants in the Dred Scott case, because of her determination to be heard separately (although this was rejected), and exposure of the Supreme Court’s limitations, as the majority summarily dismissed citizenship of anyone failing a white litmus test as “outside the framers’ conception,” declared the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, and effectively mandated slavery as an institution to be respected, if not practiced wholeheartedly, throughout the nation — a judgment that’s widely regarded as the single worst ruling to stain the court in all its storied history to date.
Montana (1889, #41)
ACHILLES HEEL: Bitterroot
HOMETOWN HERO: Ella Haskell, because she was compelled by ill health to relocate clear across the country, planted roots, petitioned for the right to pursue her chosen profession (the law), and concluded a luminous career with successful hearings before the Supreme Court, all after having successfully petitioned for divorce from a first husband.
Nebraska (1867, #37)
ACHILLES HEEL: sand
HOMETOWN HERO: Susette La Flesche, because she evidently lived up to her native appellation (“Bright Eyes”) in her position as a community leader and rights activist on behalf of the Omaha tribe and reservation, where she resided.